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Hjolmir's Lament

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[ As a precursor, this collection of short stories will be snippets of my character's life, completely out of order. I enjoy writing in random order, so that context clues come together later on down the line. ]

“You seem to love this; do you even want to be free?”

A sharp breath is shocked with an onslaught of chilled air. Eyes as piercingly blue as their imminent surroundings, speckled with red shards of encroaching sickness, peel towards the sun as suppressed thoughts are slapped away with the unexpected billowing of relentless Northern winds. The high places of capped peaks and ancient crags are no place to be led during a hunt; Hjolmir’s father would scold him for his stupidity.

The well-maintained blade deftly cuts into the carcass as breath fades with the last lights of life. A Nord should always keep a blade on him; another piece of wisdom left by the hardy man’s father, even if his wisdom was repeating common sense. The real lessons in life are taken without warning. Surgical precision comes easily, even as harsh climates batter the weathered hunter. His mind begins to wander elsewhere; a reprieve is easily found in the sweet memories of summer. These are the only things he has left now.

His favorite places were dwellings of warm air and soft canopies; the harsh landscapes of Skyrim never truly suited Hjolmir. Sun would pierce through the foliage, kissing his skin with radiant warmth while the generous shade keeps the heat from becoming overburdening. High Rock is where his dreams wander, shielding him from the cold. Even then, the game was far livelier; his knife found purchase in bountiful deer with far more enjoyment than the sinewy prey he snuffs now. Unfortunately, what his soul yearns for most is rest, and his troubled mind keeps any such fancies from coming to pass.

If his wife were still around, she would be able to ease his restless soul. Only the dirt knows her embrace now.

“Please…” Harsh breath wheezes from the sliced lungs as the female’s earthen eyes grow cold with sudden indifference, blinded to the world now. Blood flows from the Nord’s knife, splitting arteries where needed. His rustic beard is painted crimson as the starving male hunkers over his prey, drinking from his game with ravenous hunger. His thoughts wander again; finding peace in his abominable new life becomes more difficult with each passing day.

It’s difficult to feel sick to your stomach when the iron taste becomes so satisfying. He knows his sanity will leave him next, yet his constitution and will to fight the urges slowly slips away. Praying to Stendarr does nothing for the souls of his victims; nothing can. Still, he prays with a heavy heart to no avail. Only Molag Bal answers his pleading, but not with a warm reassurance.

“I’m sorry.” His breath comes ragged, gasping to fill his lungs with the crisp air as winds whip at his ragged clothing. On shaking legs he stands, leaving the corpse lying in the snow. "It's either you or me. You have to be realistic about these things."
Posted Apr 18, 14 · OP · Last edited Apr 21, 14
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“The meat has run dry.”

His father’s words haunt the boy’s troubled mind, yet the deprivation of food is far more real than the subtle meaning of words. Feet pad the earthen floor, crushing dead foliage beneath as he carries himself silently through the shaded canopy. Bow in hand, his bright hues take to the darkened forest with equal parts apprehension and hunger.

Hjolmir cringes as he hears the distant barking of his father’s hounds. They would soon corner their prey; he knows this much, but his growing adolescent sense of honor demands tribute. With clenched teeth, he stalks forward, looking to add his own kill to the larder. The forest opens its sights and smells to him, prodding at primal instincts. The slightest stir brings his weapon to a drawn state, aiming in the dark recesses of heavy underbrush.

“Ah, no… no, this won’t do at all.” The hollow voice wheezes from behind the veil of low shrubbery. With trepidation, the boy breaches the green wall with a parting hand; blue eyes peer through to the grizzly sight. A male hunkers over the rancid corpse of a long decomposed elderly. Dressed In tattered rags, his weathered features contort in disgust as he snaps the old corpse’s arm at the joint. “You didn’t hold up nearly as well as I imagined you would, Frokin; a pity.”

Hjolmir steps back, choking on his own bile. Knuckles bare white as his bow quivers in hand. Breathing heavily, he retreats several paces back, thudding with his back against a great pine. The lanky figure of the male disperses from his brush, straightening his back as he looks to the boy with an addled expression. “Ah, Hjolmir… come here, son.”

Dry lips work into each other, absent-mindedly wetting his mouth into working order. Wide eyes stare at the man, who looks so much like his father. “That was my real father, wasn’t it?” He croaks, lifting the wooden bow to level as he hastily draws an arrow across the string.

Frokin’s apparent doppelganger looks back at the corpse, lying discarded among the decaying brush. A tongue winds at his gums, gapped between missing teeth. “No. The poor man just looked like me, I think; maybe a relative.” His beading eyes look to Hjolmir, desperately trying to avert attention.

The bow creaks as weight is pulled back, poising the arrow’s glinting head directly in line with the older male’s heart. “How long has my father been dead?” The boy snarls pitifully through clenched teeth, attempting to display a brave posture.

Moving slowly forward, the doppelganger’s eyes go wide with sudden delight as lips pull into a smile across too many sharp teeth. A shriveled hand reaches out, brushing across the light stubble of the adolescent’s budding beard as a disturbed voice whispers to him.

“The meat has run dry.”
Posted Apr 21, 14 · OP
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[ So, these stories are all subject to change. Revisions are made when inspiration strikes. ]
Posted Apr 21, 14 · OP
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